By Roy van Kester
Dixon, Koller, Naredo, Bebeto, and Tafarel. What do these names remind you of? That’s right; footballers! Dümmen Orange is currently bestowing its new Gerbera varieties with the names of ex-players who have gone above and beyond in this popular sport. Account manager Eric Boerlage, his colleague Martien Vis, and marketing man Roy van Kester explain why.
Every year, no less than 30 new gerberas push their way up into the sun at Dümmen Orange’s nurseries. And every year, employees struggle to find the right names for these elite flowers. “Before, we could just brainstorm over coffee, and there didn’t really need to be a theme in the names; but now, it’s much more involved,” says Roy van Kester. “And it’s not just because so many names have to be thought up every year, but also because every name must be legally and linguistically unravelled. Some names are protected, others have strange meanings in different languages, and yet others just don’t trip off the tongue like they should.”
It used to be an unwritten rule that a Gerbera was given a girl’s name. “That immediately reflects the sweetness of the flower,” says account manager Eric Boerlage. “But at a certain point, we run out of nice girl’s names and we had to come up with something else. Our gerberas have also been named after places, like Acapulco or Oxford. There were also colour associations, like White Grizzly, Iceberg, and Husky. Or food and beverages, like Rioja, TicTac, and Sherbet. Varieties of our Gerrondo collection are often named after constellations and mythology, like Orion, Nova, and Comet. But what we really needed was a deep well of recognisable, emotionally charged names that we could use in any language.”
Names that trip off the tongue
A good name must be short, powerful, and recognisable. Product manager Jim Koop – a huge football fan – was the one who ultimately came up with the bright idea to name the new-born gerberas after former footballers. Eric: “We were instantly enthusiastic because these names always ring a bell, consciously or unconsciously. Practically every continent has some kind of connection with several players, and we’re opting for mostly English, Spanish, and Brazilian names because these sound nice and international. Plus, we’re picking footballers that have been retired for a few years already and who, for example, played for national clubs or for international teams. If you think about how around 20 teams participate in the world cups, and you multiply this by 11, then you can imagine that our creative minds have had a much easier go of it since making this decision.”
Before a new Gerbera can be christened, the name must be checked for any legal restrictions, then registered, and an application for breeders’ rights is submitted. “We don’t have to request permission to use the name,” adds Martien Vis. “And we don’t pick elite names like Zidane, Romario, or Ronaldo for the simple reason that these VIPs already have a whole brand built up around them.” Dutch elites like Wouters, Bergkamp, or Gullit – or Dutch Lionesses like Miedema or Martens, who just one the European cup – also won’t be found among the ‘smiling’ Gerbera faces. “They’re too Dutch, making them hard for foreigners to pronounce,” says Eric Boerlage, who then adds that good products always sell, even if they do have strange names. “Two of our best-selling Gerberas are called Cookies & Cream and Voldemort. The growers laughed at us in the beginning, but in the end, quality always scores big.”